The world of football has no shortage of inspirational players. Here is a round-up of some of the most fascinating figures that have competed in the sport over the years…
“The only time you run out of chances is when you stop taking them.”
David Beckham is a household name in his native England. His career has taken him from Manchester United to leading the national team of England, not to mention stints for teams in Europe and the United States. He was given an OBE in 2003 for his services to football in addition to becoming a Goodwill ambassador for UNICEF UK. A fixture in the media, he is as recognisable in a suit or t-shirt as he is in a football uniform, and has granted inspiration to aspiring players all around the world.
“Your love makes me strong. Your hate makes me unstoppable.”
Cristiano Ronaldo is the captain of Portugal’s national team, and is regarded by many commentators and enthusiasts as the single most accomplished player in the world. He is often ranked as one of the best football players in the world, with multiple championship victories to his name including six league titles, five European Cups and one European Championship. Not to mention the distinction of being the first person to win the Ballon d’Or five times, it is safe to say that Ronaldo will go down in sporting history as one of the biggest football greats ever.
“If you win without sacrifice you enjoy it but it’s more satisfying when you have struggled.”
Andrés Iniesta plays as a central midfielder for Vissel Kobe, a Japanese club despite hailing from Spain. Back when he played for Spain he was named Man of the Match in the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands and the Euro 2012 final against Italy – the latter match also earning him the title of Player of the Tournament. Iniesta is widely considered to be one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time, making him a true international talent.
“It can be tough to stand alone for something you believe in.”
Ada Hegerberg’s worldwide reputation was aided by a 16-minute hat trick she pulled off in a Champions League final against Barcelona, winning her team Lyon a new trophy. She was awarded UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award in 2016, and in 2017 and 2019 was named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year, along with many other great achievements. She is often ranked as the one of the best female football players ever and is a true inspiration to all young women across the world.
“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”
Lionel Messi is an international talent, serving as captain both for Barcelona and the national team of Argentina. It is at Barcelona that he spent the bulk of his career, winning no fewer than 34 trophies – a club record. If that was not enough Messi has also won the Ballon d’Or six times which is another record to his name. At some of the best online casinos where you can bet on football games, Messi is a reliable name when placing bets as he’s always a favourite in every match he plays. In 2019 he won the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player making him the best footballer in the world right now.
“When you get the respect of the fans, it’s very hard not to be happy.”
Yaya Touré played for that country’s national team from 2004 to 2015, hailing from the Ivory Coast. However, he has played for other teams around the world including Monaco, Barcelona, Manchester City and his current club, China’s Qingdao Huanghai. He shot to fame as part of the 2009 Barcelona side, and during his time at Manchester City he scored key goals in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final and final; it was with his skill that the team earned its first league title in 44 years.
“We don’t listen to the haters”
Sam Kerr is an Australian football player who is captain of the Matildas – the Australian women’s national football team – as well as playing for Chelsea in the English FA Women’s Super League, Sam Kerr is a leading scorer in both her native Australia and the United States. She is the only Australian footballer, male or female, to be named to the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or, having been nominated in 2018 and 2019. Known for her “speed, skill, tenacity,” and backflip goal celebrations as well as scoring goal after goal throughout 2019, Sam Kerr is a talent to keep an eye on.
Neymar has lived up to great expectations with his play for FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, as he is widely considered as one of the best players in the world. He had seen extreme poverty as a child and is now one of the highest paid footballers in the world, which goes to show how much dedication and commitment he put into the sport. In 2017, Neymar transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a move worth €222 million, making him the most expensive player ever. In the same year he was included by Time in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world which is among another huge achievement of his.